Dave Pinwell

Dave Pinwell

Dave Pinwell is a prolific blogger and IT enthusiast and has kindly allowed us to reproduce his popular weekly IT Talk column first published in the Solihull News. Dave is also CEO of Colebridge Trust and SUSTAiN which play a key role in providing strategic support to Solihull’s Voluntary & Community sector. Dave has extensive experience in the IT sector, with roles including IT Director with Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Ltd.
Tech News 6th July 2018 320

Friendly Bot Now On Station 

For decades, the best space travel tales have featured artificial intelligence with personality.

In 1968, sci-fi enthusiasts everywhere were buzzing about HAL, the face recognising, chess playing, computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

A decade later, we fell in love with R2-D2 and C-3PO, not to mention Marvin in the Paranoid Android.

Last week, 50 years on from HAL, CIMON joined their ranks.

The difference is, CIMON is not fictional, but has joined the crew of the International Space Station.

Abbreviated from Crew Interactive Mobile companion, CIMON now floats weightlessly around the station’s air and imaging to avoid the walls and recognise crew members.

It looks like a squashed ball with a smiley, cartoon face on a display screen.

Its expression changes in response to its companions. It can even frown and move slightly from side to side, mimicking a shaking head, to express disapproval.

This friendly bot was developed by Airbus and is driven by IBM’s Watson AI.

It has been trained to work alongside astronaut Alexander Gerst, who shuttled on board weeks earlier.

With instructions on its screen, voice and camera support to instruct and monitor, it will help Gerst with tasks and experiments.

The proposed long-term plan is for a next generation CIMON to accompany future astronauts on the long journey to Mars and ‘Keep their spirits up.’

That hints at a future application in the home.

When I am older, greyer, stiffer and sat in my armchair, someone might have bought me a cross between CIMON and Amazon Echo to keep me company, smiling and chirping in AI speak all day.

Oh, I can’t wait!

Dave Pinwell

Dave Pinwell is a prolific blogger and IT enthusiast and has kindly allowed us to reproduce his popular weekly IT Talk column first published in the Solihull News. Dave is also CEO of Colebridge Trust and SUSTAiN which play a key role in providing strategic support to Solihull’s Voluntary & Community sector. Dave has extensive experience in the IT sector, with roles including IT Director with Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Ltd.

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